Children of the Corn



Classic Stephen King horror, hardly popping.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: September 24, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A couple of stalwart, happily married (but reckless driving) grownups are in the lead roles, surrounded by mostly fanatical and violent kids, who are more interesting characters, alas. Two of the smallest children are friendly and helpful. The hero, an emergency-room doctor, has no problem abandoning an unconscious marauder at the end.


Abundant throat-slashings, stabbings, beatings, climactic explosions. A juvenile is struck by a car. A dog is killed (offscreen), and another character's hand forced is toward a deli meat slicer (though we don't get to see the results). A willing human sacrifice cuts himself in ritual bloodletting.


A radio preacher says "fornicator" (without defining it), and that's about all.


Christ's name in vain (ironically).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is filled with bloody violence, including a wholesale massacre of adults by their own children. The portrayal of a community run by kids who have killed all the parents isn't remotely pleasant or idealized, but it's still disturbing.

What's the story?

A shocking tone is set from the start of CHILDREN OF THE CORN, as kids in the incredibly insular and religious farming town of Gatlin, Nebraska, methodically poison, bludgeon, slash, and kill their parents and take over. Three years later, a young doctor (Peter Horton) and his wife (Linda Hamilton) stumble across Gatlin's secret in the worst way, running over a mortally wounded boy trying to escape. Bloody religious icons on the victim lead the couple to investigate the desolate town. Eventually, they learn that all of the kids belong to a strict cult founded by Isaac (John Franklin), an influential boy preacher who forbids music and games and leads Christian-like worship of "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," a demonic entity that demands human sacrifice of anyone over 18.

Is it any good?


With a chanting soundtrack and an effectively creepy sunlit vibe, this film does raise some shudders -- then wrecks the momentum with cheap gore and a feeble finale. Depending on what the low-budget special effects allow, He Who Walks Behind the Rows sometimes looks like a burrowing underground shape, a weird cloud, or a glowing cartoon. Far scarier are the juvenile actors, who really do a good job making the "children of the corn" a threatening tribe of youthful fanatics with farm-implement weapons.


Besides killer kids, the film manipulates anxieties and stereotypes about the American heartland. Instead of Satanists, with their goat horns and red capes, this group is a caricature of ultra-conservative and Evangelical churches, resembling the Amish or Mennonites -- that is, before they transform into a child cult that crucifies victims on corn stalks.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's ultimate message, that fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist Christianity (at least Hollywood's stereotype of it) has let the barn door open for a demonic force to enter and take over rural Gatlin, Nebraska. Those in religious households can check out the Bible passages that this movie uses to support its dire warning about false prophets. On the whole, is this movie favorable to faith or against it?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 9, 1984
DVD release date:September 28, 2004
Cast:John Franklin, Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton
Director:Fritz Kiersch
Studio:New World
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:graphic violence.

This review of Children of the Corn was written by

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycoolcat123321 April 15, 2011


I loved the short story(it is in night shift btw). It is great scary and very psycological
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bygrapelover46 September 12, 2012

Kids brutally murder people; not a horror movie for your teen.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byVenusGlow555 October 21, 2012

Good...Pretty Scary... Pause!

To be honest I loved it but it was a little scary but the whole idea is frighting children killing all adults and each other! There is heave violence but its not that gory there are open wounds and blood a lot of blood spattering! Some cheesy affects but its OK! Just make sure your kids know this is fake and for entertainment ONLY! - Thank You Enjoy The Show...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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